BSA Global Survey Reveals Security Concerns With Unlicensed Software — and Points to the Solution

posted by in Intellectual Property June 24, 2014
Jun 24

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Of all the priorities CIOs and IT managers are juggling these days — from cloud to mobility to data analytics — surveys find that cybersecurity is what keeps them up at night. And there’s good reason for that: Symantec dubbed 2013 the “Year of the Mega Breach” while the Economist Intelligence Unit found that more than 75 percent of organizations suffered a security incident in the past two years causing major system disruption or loss of sensitive data.

In this threat environment, the newly released 2013 edition of BSA’s bi-annual Global Software Survey finds that IT managers cite security threats from malware as the top reason to avoid unlicensed software. Among their specific concerns are intrusions by hackers and loss of data. Those concerns are not unreasonable. Yet a surprising 43 percent of the software installed on PCs around the world in 2013 was not properly licensed, at a commercial value of $62.7 billion. So while companies are justifiably worried, they are failing to act.

In fact, BSA’s Global Software Survey found that less than half of IT managers are confident their companies’ software is properly licensed, and only 35 percent of companies have written policies requiring use of properly licensed software. That is particularly striking when you consider the correlation between company policies and employee behavior: The survey found that at companies with written policies, 50 percent of employees say they never use unlicensed software, whereas at companies without written policies almost 60 percent of employees say they use unlicensed software frequently.

The good news is, this is a problem that can be solved. There are common-sense steps IT managers can take to track and manage their organizations’ software licenses:

  • First, know what’s on your system by keeping track of all software installations and ensuring your organization has the appropriate licenses for them;
  • Establish a formal, written policy and communicate it out to employees;
  • Adopt sound software asset management (SAM) practices.

SAM programs such as BSA’s Verafirm can help companies stay compliant and generate more value from their software. SAM ensures the right controls are in place to avoid security and operational risks while giving companies a full view of what is installed on their networks. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Global Software Survey found that IT managers at companies with SAM programs in place are the most confident their software is properly licensed.

To read the full study, including estimated rates and commercial values of the unlicensed PC software installed last year in more than 100 countries around the world, visit www.bsa.org/globalstudy.

Positive Shift in Europe’s Approach to Cloud Policy

posted by in Cloud Computing May 2, 2014
May 02

Policy discussions about cloud computing in Europe have at times been fraught with protectionist rhetoric. Exacerbated by Edward Snowden’s revelations on government surveillance, there have been calls for data location requirements, procurement preferences for European providers, dedicated French or German cloud networks, and even a “Schengen area for data” as ways to promote deployment of cloud services wholly focused on the European market.

While BSA fully supports efforts to promote cloud computing in the EU, these types of policies would run contrary to the borderless nature of the cloud and hamper, not encourage, cloud uptake. (more…)

Restoring Confidence in the Digital Economy

posted by in Data, Global Markets April 10, 2014
Apr 10

How do we restore trust and confidence in the underpinnings of the digital economy in the wake of unsettling disclosures about international surveillance practices?

That question is top of mind for policymakers in the US and European Union as they ponder the possibility of a grand, new transatlantic trade and investment partnership. As I noted in speeches this week in Brussels and Paris, getting the answer right will be critical if we are going to capture maximum benefit from the kinds of software innovations that are transforming everything from the way manufacturers manage their supply chains to the way doctors provide healthcare. (more…)

EU-US Summit Is an Opportunity to Re-Establish Trust in the Transatlantic Relationship

posted by in Global Markets March 26, 2014
Mar 26

Today’s EU-US Summit in Brussels, at which President Obama will join his European counterparts, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, provides an important opportunity to reinforce EU-US economic ties. A strong transatlantic partnership will send a message to global markets that the greatest prospects for economic growth and development lie in keeping borders open to data flows and preventing mandates on where servers and other computing infrastructure are located.

The commercial relationship between Europe and the US is the most significant in the world. Yet events this past year have strained this bond, in particular revelations about US government access to data. As a result, some European policymakers have argued the EU should retreat from its strong economic ties with America, calling for suspension of the Safe Harbor mechanism that facilitates cross-border data flows, requesting servers to be located geographically within Europe, even pushing for European IT independence. (more…)

Affirming the Patentability of Software

posted by in Intellectual Property February 27, 2014
Feb 27

The Supreme Court next month will hear oral arguments in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp., an important case that could go a long way toward affirming that the breathtaking software innovations transforming the world around us are patentable just like any other form of innovation as long as they meet the standard tests of being new, useful, non-obvious and adequately described.

The debate about software patentability has been contentious in recent years, partly because it has been exacerbated by questionable inventions masquerading as software patents. Take the patents asserted by Alice Corp. They simply describe a well-known process for settling financial transactions — an abstract idea that has been around for centuries — and claim that performing the steps on a computer is an invention. The concept of performing intermediate settlements on a computer adds no substantial value and does not make the abstract idea patentable, so the Court should find Alice’s patents invalid. (more…)

Study Shows Impact of Software Infringement for Manufacturers

Feb 12

It has long been well understood that software is a key driver of growth and innovation because it serves as a tool of production for businesses across every sector of the global economy. It also follows that the impact of software intellectual property infringement is far reaching — and a new study quantifies that impact in the manufacturing sector.

Bill Kerr, associate professor at Harvard Business School, and Chad Moutray, chief economist for National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) have found that global software IP infringement is a significant drain on the US economy. Their study, commissioned by NAM and the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation, reveals that between 2002 and 2012 software infringement cost nearly $240 billion in manufacturing revenue, $70 billion in GDP and more than 42,000 US manufacturing jobs.

Results of the study were discussed on January 30, 2014 in a panel discussion at NAM headquarters featuring the study authors and industry leaders:

A Forward-Looking Trade Agenda for the Digital Economy

posted by in Cloud Computing, Global Markets January 30, 2014
Jan 30

The world now invests nearly $4 trillion a year on information and communications technologies. This is propelling rapid evolution in the global economy, transforming everything from the way manufacturers manage their supply chains and retailers serve their customers, to the way doctors provide healthcare and police monitor crime statistics to improve public safety.

But capturing the maximum possible benefit from all this innovation — to spur growth, create jobs and improve people’s quality of life — will require modernizing global trade rules to promote rather than inhibit international sales and exports of the kinds of products and services that are powered by software, cloud computing and data analytics.

With major trade negotiations now underway in the Atlantic and Pacific — plus separate multilateral talks progressing on services and IT products — we have a historic opportunity to enact such an agenda and drive long-term growth in the digital economy. That is the main conclusion of a new report from BSA | The Software Alliance, titled, “Powering the Digital Economy: A Trade Agenda to Drive Growth.”

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Pass the Innovation Act

posted by in Intellectual Property December 3, 2013
Dec 03

The US House of Representatives is set to vote this week on the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), an important bipartisan bill that would curb abusive patent litigation by reducing the financial incentive for bad actors to engage in it.

BSA urges Members of Congress to support the bill.

We have laid out the case for balanced patent reform along with a detailed analysis of the Innovation Act on PatentPrinciples.org. For a great overview of why the bill is needed, we would also encourage everyone to watch this video from Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the bill’s sponsor:

Navigating the Cloud: Why Software Asset Management Is More Important Than Ever

Nov 05

Cloud computing offers businesses the prospect of immense benefits — lower IT costs, greater operational efficiency, and increased protection against malware to name a few. For IT managers looking to reap these benefits, a key step should be implementing effective software asset management (SAM) practices. That is the somewhat surprising conclusion of a new BSA study released today.

Navigating the Cloud — Why Software Asset Management is More Important than Ever” details how SAM helps to unlock the potential of the cloud.  Conventional wisdom had been that there’s no need to worry about license compliance or other SAM concerns in the cloud. But it turns out that as more and more organizations shift their computing resources to the cloud, businesses that understand that SAM is just as critical and beneficial in the cloud as it is in traditional IT environments will have a competitive advantage. (more…)

Transatlantic Data Flows: Shift the Focus to How—Not If

posted by in Cloud Computing, Data, Global Markets September 26, 2013
Sep 26

It comes as no surprise that conversations about data protection are dominating capitals around the world. Unfortunately, those conversations are being twisted in a way that confuses the issues at hand and threatens policies like the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement that help deliver the benefits at the core of the digital economy.

This situation is the product of the collision of two related — but separate — realms of data privacy, commercial data privacy and government access to data. While nations are moving quickly to establish a policy framework for a global cloud computing network that will connect businesses and consumers to products, services, and markets around the world, this summer’s disclosures of national surveillance practices have significantly heightened user and government concerns about access to data generally. (more…)